[HOT] CityLab: Kids in India Are Sparking Urban Planning Changes by Mapping Slums

Andy Anderson aanderson at amherst.edu
Fri Feb 20 19:29:31 UTC 2015

On Feb 20, 2015, at 2:19 PM, Andy Anderson <aanderson at amherst.edu<mailto:aanderson at amherst.edu>> wrote:

[I thought this was an interesting and relevant article — Andy]

Every kid likes to draw. But in India, young people living in slums are using their sketching skills to spur urban change.

As part of a broader civic campaign centered on "child clubs<http://www.unicef.org/india/health_2885.htm>," groups of children are creating detailed "social maps"<http://citiscope.org/story/2015/how-generation-young-leaders-emerging-indias-slums> of their marginalized neighborhoods to voice their concerns about public space, as first reported in Citiscope<http://citiscope.org/>, a CityLab partner site.

Since 2011, UNICEF has been encouraging kids to use mobile technology and open data<http://unicefstories.org/2014/05/20/digital-mapping-technology-to-reduce-disaster-risks/> to map environmental and health issues near their homes. But that technology isn't available to everyone. Instead, much of the child-led mapping campaign sweeping India today relies on old-school topography materials—paper and a rainbow-spectrum of markers.

Teams of young mappers and adult facilitators spend roughly 45 days traversing their slums. They learn the shape of their neighborhood, how streets interconnect (or don't), and the the density of homes there. This information becomes the map's skeleton. Then, they fill in the specifics. They stake out what's needed through the eyes of children—where underserved public areas could become play spaces, where trash bins could be added in an area they regularly see littered with filth. Their ideal neighborhood is drawn and detailed onto the map. Then, after it's complete, leaders from the child clubs present their work to local officials.

[more…great photos of their hand-drawn maps http://www.citylab.com/tech/2015/02/kids-are-sparking-urban-planning-changes-by-mapping-their-slums/385636/ ]

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